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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 @ 7:00 pm
The builder walks towards my table, in the community hall, where I sit alone with my plate of food. The other tables are full of the labour workers, their heads down and elbows out, while they shovel food into their hungry stomachs. We are all in stocking feet, our muddy boots scattered around the front door of the hall.
The builder is around my age and very attractive. Tall, strong body, gentle eyes, polite demeanor. He says hi and sits down. Over salmon and rice, I ask him how he ended up here. We live not too far apart from each other in Vancouver, and we both have ties to the North Shore. I'm instantly comfortable around him. We talk about mountain adventures and the northern lights.
We leave together on the seaplane the next day at noon. I can see the giddiness in his eyes. We fly together up over the vast expanse of rainforests, granite peaks, and glaciated fjords. Peering down at the ocean for glimpses of whales. The plane banks into a tight corner, and we land with a soft whoosh beside the island float plane dock.
I unload first. The builder passes me my travel pack carefully, the ocean lapping hungrily for a slip in grip.
The pilot asks, "So were you two on a hiking holiday?" I laugh a little on the inside, a bit wistful, pretty pleased with myself that I look like a natural match for the builder. My high school knees are shaking. Nope, we were both here for work. I don't bother to tell him that we're not together. The illusion is fun. If the builder notices, then he doesn't mention it.
A taxi meets us up on the road. We swing our bags in the back and climb inside. I sit up front and chat with the driver.
"Do you need a receipt?" she asks.
She writes one up and hands it to me. It's one receipt for the two of us.
I glance back at the builder and kind of frown-smile while asking for two separate receipts.
Life is so funny sometimes. So interesting. I travel to these wild places and meet all of these people.
There is so much beauty to be found, in these places and in these people. How beautiful relationships can be. Of finding your match, an alternate path in life, the road not taken. Knowing that you can belong in different places at the same time.
For the brief time in which I was with the builder, life was perfect. Walking in stride together down the boardwalks, flying over the wild coast together, and piecing together a meal from the airport vending machine.
I want to know more about how this happens. How two matched souls cross paths hundreds of kilometers from home. I'll never know why, but I accept it and love it and relish every single second of that magical kind of innocent, pure chemistry.
I want to remember this, when I'm old and withered. I want to remember this feeling of being beautiful and young and brave and adventurous.
Of being the gal assumed to be matched with a man like the builder.